This past summer Seth and I traveled all over Europe for 6 weeks with only a backpack each. Literally – just the backpacks. We visited 4 countries during that time and took 5 different flights. When planning for our trip we realized that we were going to have to pack according to the airline with the strictest requirements (thanks Norwegian Air). Most of our flights were budget flights and we had no checked bags allowed. And some of the airlines didn’t even allow a personal item in addition to the carry on!
In this blog I’m sharing the 5 things you need to know about before you backpack through Europe. If you’re thinking about backpacking – its actually more fun and relaxing than you might think! Even though we were super limited on what we could bring with us – we didn’t really miss anything. It just meant that we had less stuff to deal with. Going through security and walking from the train stations to our airbnbs was so much easier! Honestly, now that we’ve done it, I’m always going to pack light for trips!
I searched for the perfect backpacks for SO long. I probably spent months trying to find some that I thought were perfect and that fit with the airline requirements. After much searching I found these at REI! Seth and I got matching ones because blue is our favorite color. They are so light which was important since we did quite a bit of walking in them. They also were very spacious and had a separate bottom portion for dirty clothes and shoes. It also has a lot of pockets for things like your wallet, keys, and passport and some of them are in strategic locations so that pickpockets can’t get to your important stuff.
We had a LOT of clothes to fit in our backpacks and I found that it was a lot easier to do this with packing cubes. We used these ones and loved them! We used 4 each and fit all of our clothes in them. They fit perfectly within the backpacks which was amazing! It kept our outfits organized and the backpacks not so messy as we moved around from place to place.
Since we only had a limited amount of space, we had to really plan out our outfits. We were gone for 6 weeks though so we wanted to make sure there was variety in our outfits while we were there. To do this, we had to be super strategic! I packed a skirt, shorts, and pants that could go with multiple tops each. This way I could mix and match my outfits. I also packed a few dresses for when we were taking pictures or going out for fancier dinners!
When you’re in Europe you have to have good shoes! We walked 9-11 miles a day so we needed shoes that we could count on. But, shoes also take up a lot of space. So we each packed one pair and wore one pair on the plane. I wore a pair a sneakers and packed nicer shoes for my cuter outfits. But both were comfortable for walking! I actually threw out my sneakers halfway through the trip because they got so worn out and I bought another pair of shoes in Positano. If you’re on an extended trip then this is likely to happen!
Finally, we had a good bit of gear to bring with us! I brought my laptop, external hard drive, camera, and 2 lenses. This was a lot to fit in a backpack but it was necessary! The backpack has a padded slot where you can put a laptop and make sure that it is safe. Then I packed my lenses in the top with plenty of padding around them. You do have to be very careful when traveling with gear but it’s worth it to get the good pictures and have access to my computer!
Traveling in a backpack could be SO beneficial and make your traveling much less stressful! But you have to be strategic and make sure you prepare and get the proper gear. I hope these tips are helpful for you as you plan your backpacking trip to Europe or elsewhere!
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